I had a pretty busy week this week, visiting cigar store and hanging out with some great folks, smoking great cigars! I was actually planning to stop in to Smoke Cigar Lounge in Manyunk, PA, just outside Philadelphia, but traffic was backed up, and it sounded like they were having a street festival on the main street there, so we gave up on that idea and stopped at a new shop only a few miles from home called Cigar Brothers in Berwyn, PA. This shop is an old house, and the downstairs part is the store, all humidified with the cigars out on shelves. The selection was very good,lots of boutiques as well as old standards. I grabbed a few CAO Flathead Sparkplugs and some Rocky Patel Super Ligeros and chatted with the properly named co-owner, Craig. The lounge is upstairs, basically two rooms and a hall with a bathroom. It’s not a great space for an event, as there’s no one large gathering area, but it’s nice for just hanging out with a few people. It’s bright and comfortable and well ventilated. I smoked the CAO Sparkplug there, as we had spent the afternoon in traffic and Craig was closing in an hour. I love the Flathead line, and really like this little cigar. It’s rich, full-bodied and burns right. We had a great afternoon talking to Craig and hanging out in this new shop that I think will do well.
This weekend was Famous Smoke Shop’s Cigarnival event, which I’ve attended in the past, so there have been a bunch of “cigarlebrities” in the general vicinity. Wednesday my oldest son and I went down to the Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA where they were having a Drew Estate event with Chris Stone and Pedro Gomez. Pedro runs the Cigar Safari and tours the US doing events in the off-season. My son hadn’t seen him since we were in Nicaragua in 2011, so it was a nice reunion and it was nice to go out and have a cigar with the kid for a change. I went with another favorite, the Nica Rustica. It looks like it’s a Maduro week! Great cigar, great friends, and a great shop. I even won an Acid Fat Tips t-shirt, who remembers those? I never smoked one, but it was supposed to be a mass market Acid with a plastic tip, but it never really caught on. Anyway, if you haven’t met Pedro, don’t miss the chance, and if you have, well, you know why I’m recommending you meet him! I didn’t take one darned picture the whole evening dammit.
Thursday found me at Cigar Mojo for a packed house. Earlier in the day they had visits from Nick Perdomo and Jesus Fuego, but the evening event featured Aging Room Cigars and Rafael Nodal, along with his sons Carlos and Rafael Jr. I continued the maduro theme with an Aging Room Maduro that was the free cigar with purchase, Rafael said the bundle came from his personal humidor and they were from the initial release. Once again, this was a nice smoke, very rich with a nice sweet mocha vibe, fortunately I picked up a few more, as well as some Havao. I generally run into someone I know there and caught up with some old acquaintances from another shop I’ve been to. I had a nice time conversing with Rafael and his sons, Rafael is one of the nicest guys around.
Friday evening I was back in my routine of taking Macha for a walk and enjoying a cigar, and I selected a Fratello Bianco II Toro to celebrate the end of another week. Omar made this cigar with me specifically in mind! (I have an e-mail from him saying that, but I don’t really buy it…). The San Andreas wrapper is a beautiful dark brown with a sheen of oil, it’s dark, even though the cigar is named “White”. It has a Dominican binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Peru and Pennsylvania, my home state (maybe Omar wasn’t blowing smoke up my skirt after all! **now there’s a mental image for you!**). If I knew nothing more than the composition of this cigar I’d figure it was a really good chance I’d love it, but I also know where it’s made and the guy behind it, there would have to be something monumentally wrong for me not to like this cigar. As it turns out, all my preconceptions did not lead to disappointment. The Fratello Bianco is a brilliant cigar. It has the similarity to strong, bitter black coffee that I like, as well as a solid core of savory flavor and perhaps a hint of sweetness. This is an after dinner espresso (double, it was a 6″x 50 toro after all). I dig it, I can’t wait to smoke the 5″ x 56 III and the corona that Omar so generously sent to me, and buy some of these when they hit the stores. I may even put the mooch on Omar at the trade show in a few weeks (naw, I’ll leave the samples for the retailers…). This is a winner, hands down. Molto buon sigaro!
So ends another week. It did nothing but rain yesterday, so I got nothing done save for smoking a nice Inca Secret Blend Imperio after dinner on the back porch, breaking my maduro binge. If you happen to find yourself in Easton, PA today (Sunday June 28), Rafael Nodal is going to be playing piano at Leaf, the great restaurant at Famous Smokeshop. Going to events at shops is a great way to increase your appreciation for cigars, as well as add some new stock to your humidors. Support your local retailers, and Cigar Rights of America while you’re at it!
Until the next time,